What Interested Us the Week of February 9, 2015

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Posted on Feb 13, 2015

CrowdFlower Report Reveals: Career Obstacles for Data Scientists

CrowdFlower, 2/10/15

CrowdFlower, a data enrichment, data mining and crowdsourcing company, has released its 2015 Data Scientist Report. Findings revealed major hurdles preventing data scientists from doing what they find most interesting in their jobs: predictive analysis and data mining for behavioral patterns and future trends. Here are two of their major concerns:

1. Messy, disorganized data is the number one obstacle holding data scientists back.Two-thirds of respondents say cleaning and organizing data was the least interesting and most time-consuming task, taking time away from more preferred tasks, such as predictive analysis and data mining.
2. Data scientists need more support from their companies. Data scientists said that organizations can empower data science teams by providing the proper tools to do their job betterand setting clearer goals and objectives on projects.

"We know that data scientists are valuable for their companies, but there's still a disconnect between what they actually do and what they want to do," said Lukas Biewald, co-founder and CEO of CrowdFlower. "At the end of the day, the time they invest in cleaning data is time that could be better spent doing strategic, creative work like predictive analysis or data mining. If companies can give data scientists some of that data cleaning time back, they'll have happier teams that can focus on really exciting things."

President Obama pushes for the student data privacy legislation

Jiayu Peng, 2/13/15

President Obama is pushing for legislation to protect the online data privacy of students. A new bill, called the Student Digital Privacy Act, is being prepared for introduction to the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of this month.

The issue of students' data privacy comes as schools across U.S. are adopting digital education products that can collect information about a student's every keystroke. The premise behind the data collection is to customize lessons to the academic needs and preferences of each child. However, these data-mining apps have begun to trouble some parents, who are concerned that education technology companies could potentially collect - and later share - sensitive details about, for example, a child's disciplinary record or a family's financial status.

Accordingly, the proposed Student Digital Privacy Act is prohibiting any firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-collected software.

This new act is the first step of Obama's big plan for data privacy. "As Americans, we shouldn't have to forfeit our basic privacy when we go online to do our business", the president announced.

References:
President Obama pushes for student data privacy legislation
Obama administration pushes for legislation on student data privacy
Obama gets bipartisan support for protection of student data

Datameer Unleashes First-to-Market Big Data Analytics Platform for Hadoop-as-a-Service

 Jiayu Peng, 2/13/15

Datameer, a big data insights platform for rapid data discovery, announced Datameer Professional, the first big data analytics platform designed specifically for Hadoop-as-a-Service. This new service targets potential Hadoop users unable to build their own large-scale Hadoop clusters or unwilling to wait for an enterprise-wide rollout.

The success of enterprise Hadoop adoption is driving a growing demand for access in the cloud, as more business users with limited IT or Hadoop expert resources want direct and immediate access to their data, regardless of its size. Datameer Professional is an agile option for business executives within an organization who want to start integrating, preparing, analyzing and visualizing all of their data right away.

"Datameer Professional is the accelerant the market has needed for individual departments within an organization to stop talking about the benefits of big data and Hadoop and start realizing them immediately," said Stefan Groschupf, CEO of Datameer. "Now companies that want to gain a competitive advantage with big data analytics right away can simply purchase Datameer Professional running on a HaaS offering and discover actionable insights in hours or days, not months."

References:

Datameer Unleashes First-to-Market Big Data Analytics Platform for Hadoop-as-a-Service

Datameer rolls out Hadoop-as-a-service for impatient IT bods

Managing data scientists over the short and long term

Jiayu Peng, 2/13/15

Data scientists are in high demand, as executives seek talented individuals capable of unlocking the hidden value from big data, to create big business results. But managing such scarce talent requires a proactive approach over the short and long term.

Major companies already recognize that getting the best from their data scientists, in fact, requires more than just hiring smart people and setting them loose to analyze data. They believe that data scientists are more effective and bring more value to the business when they work within teams. Innovation has usually been found to occur within team environments where there are multiple skills, rather than because someone working in isolation has a brilliant idea, as it is often portrayed in TV dramas.

In the short term, the team approach can be taken a step further in an effort to help bridge the data scientist shortage.

However, over the long term, recruiting and then retaining data scientists requires an understanding of how they tick.

For many of them, it isn't only about compensation – though it is important for them to understand what they earn versus their peers. Also, unlike many MBAs, data scientists often don’t harbor ambitions to be the next CEO. Instead, they are more motivated by recognition and respect from their peers than by the opinion of their supervisors. They are more inspired by cracking difficult problems than by implementing and maintaining the solutions they come up with.

As such, data scientists need to be kept at the forefront of solving the most difficult problems the business faces. Retaining the data scientists they recruit requires designing career paths that meet their need for intellectual challenges and that give them appropriate recognition.

Reference:

Data scientists: 'As rare as unicorns'

New Digital Ad Playbook and Big Data

Jiayu Peng, 2/13/15

Recently, officials made announcements about big data at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Leadership Forum. Peter Minnium, head of brand initiatives at the IAB, said in a statement that big data will "fundamentally change the way creative and media agencies think about and execute multiscreen advertising campaigns, yet best practices are few and far between."

According this need, Jivox, a well-known ad platform provider, is working on a "Best Practices Playbook" for executing dynamic advertising campaigns. The goal is to help marketers make sense of an increasingly data-driven digital advertising world.

Authors of the Playbook see six primary areas of concern:

1. Data-Driven Creativity

2. Building Scalable Campaigns

3. Access to Data

4. Multiscreen Delivery

5. Rules-Based Decisioning

6. Building the Technology Stack

Hopefully from this book we will see interesting data science topics in the new media.

Reference:

New Digital Ad Playbook Focuses on Big Data

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